EURO 2016:Portugal 1-0 France – UMUSEKE – News indeed
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France should never have allowed themselves to be taken so deep into the game. They started well and, though they couldn’t sustain that momentum throughout, they were the only team to create chances in the first 90 minutes.

Eder who scored the only goal that qualified Portugal for the Cup
Eder who scored the only goal that qualified Portugal for the Cup

Antoine Griezmann, so deadly in the semi-final win against Germany, headed the best chance of his whole tournament over the bar from six yards in the second half.

Then, in the 90th minute, France substitute Andre-Pierre Gignac turned brilliantly in the penalty area, only to drag his shot against a post. After that, a penalty shootout seemed inevitable.

That would have suited Portugal. But moments after left back Raphael Guerreiro had struck the bar with a free-kick in the 109th minute, substitute Eder — who did not score for Swansea in 13 league appearances — shrugged off Laurent Koscielny 30 yards from goal, carried the ball a couple of paces and struck a low right-foot shot that goalkeeper Hugo Lloris saw but could not stop as it arrowed into his bottom right-hand corner.

There was bedlam on Portugal’s bench, even if Ronaldo, complete with knee strapping, could not join in. Around 10 minutes later it was all over and inevitably the focus turned once again to the Portugal captain.

The Real Madrid forward has had a mixed tournament. It began with childish carping about Iceland after Portugal had drawn their opening game 1-1 and he only came to life when he took control of his country’s semi-final against Wales in Lyon on Wednesday.

Here, though, Ronaldo saw the circle of his career completed. He may not have been on the field for much of this night, but that doesn’t really matter. He has dragged his country forward manfully for the past decade and he must have wondered — after a Euro 2004 final defeat by Greece and some close calls at the World Cup — if it was ever going to happen for him on this stage.

That’s why we saw tears. That’s why he cried when he succumbed to Payet’s challenge in the 18th minute. That’s why he cried when he accepted the inevitable a few minutes later and left the field on a stretcher. And that is why he cried at the end. Different tears, this time, as the pressure valve was released. And we should not begrudge him this victory.

Ronaldo may represent part of what we don’t like about the modern game, but he represents far more about what we do. He brings us guts, glory and thrills. He cares, too. He has always cared.

We may feel that this tournament has the wrong winners. Portugal have not been Euro 2016’s best team. They probably aren’t in the top three. But Fernando Santos’s team have found a way to get through this month in France and that determination was typified in the way they played last night.

France began well and looked as though they may take the game away from Portugal. Strangely, it was Newcastle midfielder Moussa Sissoko who was the hosts’ best player. While Griezmann, Payet and Paul Pogba existed on the periphery, Sissoko attempted to take hold of the game.

In terms of chances, Griezmann was denied early by Rui Patricio as he headed towards the top corner, then Olivier Giroud nodded a chance straight at the goalkeeper.

It was Sissoko who almost broke through, though, as he turned a defender beautifully in the box to thrash a low shot towards goal. Once again Patricio was required to beat the ball away.

France had not played as well once Ronaldo went off. Maybe it was the fact Portugal retreated so far that troubled them. Maybe their go-to players just didn’t really bring their best form to the final.

Payet was taken off before the hour and replaced by Kingsley Coman. The 20-year-old winger was effective and created two good chances for his team. The cross he dropped on Griezmann’s head in the 75th minute was a beauty. Griezmann could have scored with his eyes closed but the ball flew over. Soon after, he played Giroud through and the Arsenal striker shot low, only for Patricio to dive left and save again.

Giroud was immediately replaced by Gignac and the final act of the regulation minutes was the most dramatic. The striker turned Pepe superbly and but the ball hit a post and rebounded to safety.

That, as it turned out, was Portugal’s cue. Extra-time was a non- event until Eder emerged from anonymity to win it. Ronaldo cried again as he received the trophy.

‘Vamos,’ he screamed as he lifted it to the sky. ‘Come on!’ is its literal translation.

No doubt it was the preface to quite a party.

Dimitri Payet who has hurt the Portuguese striker Ronaldo
Dimitri Payet who has hurt the Portuguese striker Ronaldo


The  match was not easy for the Portuguese striker Ronaldo

Daily Mail


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